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Twitter Says No More to TwitterMoms

Two years ago, Megan Calhoun launched a website devoted to connecting mom bloggers through Twitter. Thousands of moms signed up and with that came the brand names, eager to catch the ear of this influential segment of the online population.

She called the site TwitterMoms and I joined up back in August of 2009. Since then, I’ve been involved in a wide variety of marketing programs which were offered exclusively to members. Most of these were pay or gift for post opportunities where I was rewarded for writing about a product on my blog.  According to the website, more than $160,000 was rewarded to community members over the last year. A portion of the money was given to charity, and many members added their voice to stories for NBC/iVillage, the LA and New York Times and other media outlets.

What started out as a fun way to connect, turned into big business for Megan and her team and that’s probably why Twitter is now complaining about the use of their name.

A week ago, Megan Calhoun posted a message saying that Twitter had written to ask her to change the name of the site due to trademark violation. Their motivation is understandable. The name, TwitterMoms, does make you think that it’s related to Twitter but it is interesting that it took them two years to make the claim.

Megan might have lost sleep over losing her hard-won, firmly established name, but she says that she’d been mulling over a change anyway, so it became the final push she needed to make it so.

Twitter’s request was entirely reasonable and understandable. We never hesitated to communicate our intention to comply with their wishes. The time for change had come.

So, we caught our breath and set out to find a great new domain name that more accurately described the community we serve and our mission. After considering dozens of options, we settled on SocialMoms.com. Our new brand will officially launch in early January.

SocialMoms is a much better descriptor for the company and I’m glad to see that they found a name that will likely trump the one they had before. It’s also good to see a grassroots effort continue to grow despite being pecked by the beak of a bigger bird.

It’s going to work out for TwitterMoms, but the story does point out the potential danger of hitching your wagon to someone else’s star.

  • roger coryell

    Now all she has to worry about is the FTC

  • jqp

    One would think the “rewards for posts” scheme would put Megan in the FTC’s crosshairs. That’s pay for play with enormous potential for abuse.

  • http://www.techipedia.com Tamar Weinberg

    “The name, TwitterMoms, does make you think that it’s related to Twitter but it is interesting that it took them two years to make the claim.”

    I don’t think the two year delay is super interesting. Twitter only recently started enforcing their trademark. I notice that a lot of startups don’t understand how to approach this sensitive legal issue in the beginning.

  • http://www.sixthirtythree.wordpress.com 633

    I was bracing myself for a read through of a court battle between Twitter and TwitterMoms. I’m quite happy it ended peacefully.

  • http://www.mytwittertoolbox.com David Perdew

    Twitter is becoming more protective of its name these days, probably a move to firmly establish themselves as a marketable, independent brand with few direct ties to the audience it serves. I suppose that’s a way for a (now) larger corporation to approach a growth strategy, and it is commendable that, in this case, and in a similar one with Touiteur, the affected parties decided a business name is not as important as the service it provides.

  • http://marketingtechblog.com Douglas Karr

    Believe it or not, if you asked me which brand was going to be around longer… I’d put my money on SocialMoms! Great choice!

  • http://MommyBlogExpert.com Janis Brett Elspas

    Megan Calhoun is amazing both professionally and personally as I’ve had the chance to meet her and get to know her better. For those who are concerned about the ethics of pay for play, rest assured that TwitterMoms has always had a reputation for being VERY ETHICAL when it comes to FTC disclosure compliance and has always carefully monitored its members that post on its clients’ behalves.

    When Twitter thinks you’re a threat it means you’ve finally hit it big and I think that’s the main message here. As a member of TwitterMoms since 2009, I am in awe of everything Megan’s done as TwitterMoms has evolved into a real force to reckon with in the mommy blogging community and the brands that target us.

    The move to change the name is definitely a silver lining as TwitterMoms isn’t just moms on Twitter, its moms (both professional mommy bloggers and moms who blog casually) on Facebook and dozens of other social media across the Internet. SocialMoms is much more descriptive of what I and the other members of the network formerly known as TwitterMoms do.

    • Cynthia

      Very true Janis. FTC disclosure is a requirement for all TwitterMom posts and what Megan has done with that community in such a short time is amazing.

      What I didn’t mention in my article but would like to add now (having just received the latest newsletter) is that even though they’ve become a business, Megan and her group have maintained a friendly, community feeling. Her post offers don’t sound like they’re coming from a marketing agency, they sound like one friend letting another in on a good deal and that’s what social media marketing is all about.

  • http://www.cookiesandclogs.com TerriAnn

    Thanks for clearing this all up. The new name will better fit the direction their organization is going in.

  • http://thornhillspa.com Thornhill Spa

    that’s what happens when you try to steal ideas. Notice to the wise, when in doubt…seek more information

    • Cynthia

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say “steal” ideas. TwitterMoms was very much a fan site in the same way people run sites for their favorite TV shows (me included.) My Hawaii Five-O site pays homage to the series, it’s not “stealing” the idea. Same with TwitterMoms, that’s how they started out and that’s why they’ve outgrown the name.

  • http://www.DesertMountainHomesOnline.com/blog Carmen Brodeur

    I am shocked it took them 2 years to shut them down. I would have expected them to pounce on them 10 minutes after they found it.

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